Global Stocks Slip as Tension Mounts on U.S.-China Technology Ties

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01/15/2020 | 11:30 am

By Avantika Chilkoti

Global stocks slipped Wednesday as investors grew concerned that an initial U.S.-China trade pact, set to be sealed later in the day, won't assuage ongoing trade and technology tensions between the two superpowers.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged down about 0.1%. The Shanghai Composite closed 0.5% lower, and the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 index swung between gains and losses.

While the signing of the accord is widely expected to call a halt to the two-year trade war between the U.S. and China, a continuing battle over technology may keep relations on edge as the Trump administration focuses on tightening restrictions on Huawei Technologies Co.

The White House and Congress both view the giant Chinese telecommunications company as a national-security threat, and the Commerce Department is seeking to largely eliminate a loophole that allowed U.S. companies to sell to Huawei from their overseas facilities, people familiar with the matter said.

Investor optimism on further progress in the trade negotiations between Beijing and Washington also waned after Bloomberg News reported that the U.S. won't review existing tariffs on Chinese imports for at least 10 months. That suggests a delay in the timetable for any phase-two deal, while the initial agreement fails to address some of the key underlying issues in the U.S.-China trading relationship.

Over in Europe, the yield on government bonds dipped ahead of fresh bond sales planned by major eurozone governments. Germany is offering EUR1.5 billion of bonds maturing in August 2050, while Italy is set to issue new debt maturing September 2050. The yield on 10-year German bonds dipped to minus 0.198%, from minus 0.168% on Tuesday. The yield on the equivalent Italian debt dipped to 1.372% from 1.389%.

Investors trying to gauge the impact of the continuing trade dispute on the global economy will be monitoring public comments due from Federal Reserve and German central bank officials later in the day.

Financial firms are likely to dominate the earnings calendar in the U.S. for another day, with Goldman Sachs Group, Bank of America and BlackRock all set to report their latest results.

Write to Avantika Chilkoti at

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